The current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has undoubtedly caused devastating effects, but the lesson one should take away from this is that there is no excuse to be against vaccinations.
Despite living in a developed country, where access to a drug and vaccine network is readily available, people still choose to avoid vaccinating not only themselves but their children too.
There is even an organisation which advocates natural alternatives to drug based medicines, including the recent suggestion that epilepsy patients should never take anti-epileptic drugs, and this is in Australia.
In West Africa efforts to control the outbreak of Ebola are hampered by unfounded suspicion of modern medicine and reliance on herbal medicine.
This misinformation is understandable due to the fragmented, under-resourced, or non-existent health system in the region, but what is Australia’s excuse?
Recently there have been reports of an outbreak of highly preventable diseases such as the Measles in Australia and it is all due to the decline of implementing vaccinations.
In one case, a woman died from Ebola after her family forcibly removed her from a hospital to bring her to a traditional herbalist.
In addition to rejecting medical quarantine in favour of herbal medicine, angry mobs have attacked medical workers to protest what they view as a conspiracy to infect the population, believing it to be a government scheme used to either collect money or harvest the organs of patients said to have Ebola. In Liberia, police shot tear gas and bullets at a mob angrily protesting the quarantining of a densely populated slum in the capital, Monrovia.
While the anti-vaccination community in Australia is not violently opposing lifesaving vaccines, they are rejecting the overwhelming scientific data on the effectiveness of vaccines, embracing conspiracy theories on vaccines causing autism, and refusing to vaccinate their children.
If this outbreak can teach us anything it is that vaccinations have been created to save lives, not destroy them.